I hate it when people say "Well, it could be a lot worse."
Yes, I admit, I used to be one of those people who would say that. More often than I realized. But if you think about it, it's such a trite, meaningless thing to say. All it does is temporarily make you feel better about whatever tragedy -- great or small -- you're currently going through. Kind of like religion.
Of course it could be a lot worse. Anything could be a lot worse. But most of us don't live a life of extremes where things are either catastrophic on a daily basis or so Technicolor that you need a pair of RayBans just to see through all the everyday joy. Most of us live somewhere in the middle -- a place where, in general, everything is usually copacetic (save for the occasional cancer scare or pet death).
Maybe my hatred of the whole "It could be a lot worse" platitude is that not only is it said just to make one's self feel better about whatever substandard state of affairs is happening, but it's also a way out. "It could be a lot worse" means "hey, my lot in life isn't so bad . . . I should be happy with this crap job/crap relationship/crap haircut." But why? Why should you be happy just because you're employed, just because you aren't alone, or just because you're not wearing a wig like Kim Zolciak? Maybe it's better being unemployed and exploring what it is you actually do best. Maybe you would be better off alone. Maybe you would even look better wearing a wig.
"It could be a lot worse" is like spoon-feeding yourself mediocrity. It demotivates you to do better, be better and live a better life. It's time to admit that sometimes circumstances just suck or don't go your way. Such is the way of life. But instead of climbing into a nice, comfortable pool of "it could be a lot worses", the kind of pool that makes it easier for you to settle your standards, why not say "it could be a lot better"? Maybe you could make more money, drive a better car, be in a better relationship or hang out with higher quality people -- people you actually consider "real" friends, not just ones you say are friends but secretly detest.
Perhaps a healthier way to think about it is somewhere out there, right now, someone is being born with a terrible birth defect that will affect the trajectory of the rest of their life. From their first breaths in this world they never had a chance like yours. Somewhere else out there someone is dying of starvation or terminal cancer or some degenerative disease with no cure. Do you think any of these people would want you using them as a reason for why you should feel better about yourself? Of course not. They'd kill to be in your position. One where you can actually change things because unlike them you have a chance at tomorrow. So forget about what's worse. Seize the way you can make it better.
Basket of News, Aug. 16-22, 2014
20 hours ago